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What’s an Echocardiogram?

what is an echocardiogramIf you are having suspected heart issues, your doctor may refer you to get an echocardiogram completed. An echocardiogram can detect issues within the valves or chambers of your heart or confirm if heart issues are the reason for your symptoms. You will want to talk to your doctor if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, or chest heaviness. If you have a specific question about whether you need an echocardiogram, it is best to speak with your physician. Here is a bit of necessary information about the test and what you can expect.

Types of Echocardiograms

There are many different types of echocardiograms. Each type has its purpose, and you may need one type over another depending on your particular circumstances. The various types include:

•    Transthoracic echocardiogram – This is a standard, noninvasive echocardiogram in which the technician runs a transducer probe over your skin to look at your heart. This is the most common type of echocardiogram

•    Transesophageal echocardiogram – If the technician cannot see your heart properly, this type of echocardiogram is used. A tube is placed down your throat to get a detailed image of your heart. During the procedure, the patient is sedated, and you will be given medicine to help you relax.

•    Stress echocardiogram – Some heart issues only appear during exercise. A stress echocardiogram is done after exertion on a treadmill or exercise bike. If the patient cannot exercise, they are given drugs to stimulate the heart to simulate exercise.

How to Prepare for an Echocardiogram

There is little to no preparation for an echocardiogram. You will not need to fast unless you are receiving a transesophageal echocardiogram, and then it is just for a few hours before the procedure. Otherwise, you should be able to eat and take your regular medications without issue. Ask your physician if there are any specific preparations you need to make for your procedure.

If you have concerns about your heart, make sure to contact Brookhaven Heart today. Call 631-654-3278 today to make your appointment with our heart specialists.